The Employee to CEO Project

Dream Bigger Than You Imagined

The goal of the Employee to CEO Project is to create a community built around mentorship and career vision that leads minority women and men to embrace their role as the next generation of great leaders.

Five years ago, on a flight back from Nashville Tennessee, this idea was born; and for the last five years, I’ve grappled with getting it started. I’ve spent countless hours figuring out what shape and form the Employee to CEO Project should take, all while overcoming my fears that you would not embrace this community. Over and over again as I refused to give birth to this movement, I would encounter individuals who challenged me to leave my comfort zone and take on my gift for helping women and men embrace their career journey. Today, I’m glad that I moved out of my own way and championed this vision.

Our Why

I’ve mentored, sponsored, coached, listened to countless individuals who felt stuck or felt that getting through the glass ceiling was too insurmountable. Along the way, I’ve met some very courageous individuals who dared to dream beyond the employee desk, and I’ve encountered countless individuals who just wanted someone to talk to about the challenges they were facing as they tried to climb the corporate ladder.

One individual whose story stuck with me and propelled me forward was that of a young Asian-American attorney who I met at a conference in Minnesota. After listening to my keynote presentation she came up to me and asked to talk, as I listened intently to her frustration, she related that her boss decided that she wasn’t good enough to handle prime cases. He didn’t base that on her knowledge or her ability but he said, "His clients felt more comfortable dealing with a man and not a woman" – he wanted her to remain behind the scenes. She could do the work, but she shouldn’t take the credit. She struggled to understand why. She had gone to the best schools, graduated at the top of her class, passed the Bar Examination, but she was now stuck, in what seemed like a spiral to nowhere. How do you go against your boss, his clients and ultimately the reference you’ll need to find the next job/assignment? For more than an hour, I talked to her about options to navigate around this situation, but more importantly, how to not lose her courage to want more than what she had right now. I’ve never been able to remove her situation from my mind or her story from my vision.

This is the primary reason why the Employee to CEO Community is so important. People need to know they are not alone in their career journey.

I sincerely thought about creating The Employee to CEO Project to focus on the needs of minority women but along the way, I was reminded that I have two sons who are, African-American men and who have encountered the same biases that other minorities face as they navigate the corporate world. Their stories reshaped my vision. So I made the decision to open the community to all minorities both men and women who want to have a place to connect with others who can help them navigate, not only career decision but decisions that may lead in an entrepreneurial direction. No one said C-Suite leadership had to occur within the Corporate structure – what I know for sure sometimes you have to leave the Corporate domain to truly live your dreams.

I am incredibly mindful that we, as minorities, cannot achieve anything without the help of mentors, sponsors, champions, and friends, who don’t look like us but who genuinely want to help us succeed. So, I am not limiting participation in the community at all. In the end, we have more in common that we do in difference. So this community is open to all who want to participate and make a difference.

It is my goal to create a community built for you by you – not one that I support solely. I’m asking for volunteers who want to give their time and their knowledge to help others along the way. The one quote that sticks with me and is the vein of my life's work, “The Journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Lao Tzu

Please join us on this Journey….Welcome to The Employee to CEO Project!

Margaret Spence
Founder, The Employee to CEO Project

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Margaret Spence

Founder, The Employee to CEO Project

"Nineteen years ago I left the Corporate world to start my Risk Managment and Human Resources Consulting Company - C. Douglas & Associates, Inc., today I am an expert business strategist and consultant to Fortune 500 Corporations. I am passionate about empowering women and men into leadership through mentorship and career guidance. I founded "The Employee to CEO Project" – A global initiative to increase the representation of women and minorities in C-Suite Leadership Roles. We are more than dismal leadership statistic - we must be empowered to "Own the C-Suite"." Margaret is the author of three books on Injury and Disability Management and Leading from the CEO Desk. The heart of Margaret’s competitive advantage is her ability to find unique ways to eliminate the underutilization and systematic undervaluing of talent within an organization. Margaret is often quoted as an HR Business Expert and Thought Leader in national publications including; Forbes, Time, The Washington Post, Slate, CNBC, and HR Magazine. She served on the SHRM Special Expertise Panel on Employee Health, Safety & Security and most recently on the HR Disciplines Panel. Margaret spoke at the SHRM Annual Conference in 2012, 2013 and 2014 - voted among the Top 20 Speakers, delivering a powerful dynamic presentation to change the talent development trajectory. Learn More About Margaret, Link to Her On Social Media or Her Website:


You see things, and you say why? I dream things that never were, and I say Why Not?
George Bernard Shaw

Our Vision & Mission

Diversity

We cannot change diversity if the first place we start is at work. Diversity of thought and leadership must start in schools. Our children must learn how to be passionate about leadership, and they must be molded to become our next great leaders.

Change

The world is changing – the minority will become the majority. (But it is really easy to be left behind.) I want to challenge corporations, small business and talent development practitioners to stop hiding behind the statistics and make visible, actionable change.

Co-Creation

By 2020, we will have four generations in the workforce and for the first time, the young (Millenials, Gen X, Gen Y) will outnumber the Boomers.

Comminality

The Employee to CEO Projects goal is to create a community which is built on commonality. A community built around championing how we advance and retain minorities in key leadership roles.

Global Movement

We know that Diversity still needs pioneers. The Employee to CEO Projects singular goal is to create a Global Movement that focuses on Diversity in the Leadership Pipeline. We owe it to the next generation to change how we develop talent and how we harness the talents of a diverse group of individuals.

Leadership Development

To Create Leadership Development Opportunites in K-12 Education that introduces students to new career options and new visions for their future.

Social Responsibility

To Create Mentorship Communities built around Corporations and Corporate Social Responsibility. As well as empowering minorities to lead from an entrepreneurial mindset.

Multi-Generational Mentors

To Create Mentorship Opportunites that allow Boomers to co-create with the next generation of leaders.

Leadership Role Models

To Create Opportunites to Feature Minorities doing Great things in their Community, in the jobs they do every day and within the Corporations they work for.

A Community of Support

To Create a Global Community that mentors, sponsors, and champions minorities into C-Suite Leadership and Entrepreneurship around the globe.


Our Mentorship Philosophy

The Employee to CEO Community is Built Around the Principles of SAGE and SOAR

  • S - Strategic - Built Around Precise Career Strategy
  • A - Audacious - Bold Messaging that Moves Mentees Beyond Fear to Authenticity
  • G - Guidance - Leadership Instruction and Advise
  • E - Empowerment - Permission and Authority to Move Beyond Where You Are to Where You Want to Be

  • S - Strength - When are you at your best?
  • O - Opportunity - What are you preparing for?
  • A - Actions - What are you going to do every day to achieve your goal?
  • R - Results - What are your intentions and do they connect with your goals?
A mentor in spiritual and philosophical topics who is renowned for profound wisdom. Having or prompted by wisdom or discernment - a woman or man revered for their profound wisdom.
Definition of "A Sage"
Our Mentor Community
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